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How a Government Shutdown Will Affect Immigration

Possibilities are brewing for a partial U.S. Government shutdown starting December 22 over the issue of funding "The Wall" after a very public contentious White House meeting on December 11. What is the potential immigration effect?

  • Labor Department (PERMs, LCA for H-1B, H-2B, etc.). The Department is already funded for this fiscal year (uniquely). No effect.
  • USCIS (most immigration benefit requests). This is a fee funded agency. Very little effect.
  • State Department. Consular visa functions are fee funded, so there should be little effect. A protracted shutdown could undercut supporting consular facilities and services and could slow or interrupt visa interviews and issuance and interrupt people's return to USA, so beware.
  • DOJ (immigration courts). Could shut down.
  • Ports of entry. Should continue unaffected.
  • ICE (enforcement). Critical functions continue, but generally reduced.
  • Programs expiring: E-Verify, EB-5 regional center filings, non-minister religious worker permanent category, J-1 physician waivers. Affected on a delay.

With hope, a shutdown will be averted or will not last long. Return from international travel needing a new visa is the biggest risk, especially if a shutdown drags on.

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